November 6, 2005

The 86-year old poet encounters the Italian police and gets creative.

Lawrence Ferlinghetti searched out the house his immigrant father was born in, in a small town near Milan:
I rang the bell and tried to see into the lobby. People came to the door and were very hostile. They called the police. A car zooms up, and two poliziotti jumped out and asked for my papers and kept me standing there for three-quarters of an hour.
It's not quite Bush's fault.
They mistook you for a burglar?

There's a climate of fear and paranoia since 9/11, and in this country it was generated by Bush.

But you can't possibly blame President Bush for fear and paranoia in northern Italy.

It's the same with Silvio Berlusconi in Italy. Is it true that Bush believes that anyone caught reading books should be banned from government?

That's such a flaky, California thing to say.

I made it up.
Ah, poetry! You can say what you want!


Palladian said...

I'm a little unclear as to what portion of the story he made up. All of it? And what is with asking himself if Bush banned book readers from government? I know, it's BEAT, man, you're not SUPPOSED to understand! Unclarity is our clarion call, Cat!

I once had a professor who spent 30 minutes talking about how much he hated Allen Ginsburg. Not for his poetry or his lifestyle or his flaky politics, but because Ginsburg had an office on the same floor of a building as my professor and Ginsburg had purchased some expensive Levelor window shades, which my professor couldn't afford.

Ah, counterculture! Just another route to the wealth and celebrity they purport to despise.

"They are not considered the dominant culture in this country. What's called the dominant culture will fade away as soon as the electricity goes off."

Spoken like a true "progressive", romanticizing the collapse of modern society, when presumably we will all shrug our shoulders at the demise of the progress of the last century (including the medical science that probably keeps 86 year old poets alive, published, and on Proustian jaunts to the old country), kick back and read Beat poetry by candlelight.

It won't all be bad. Not having to read pointless puff pieces in the Times on the most forgettable of the Beats is one thing to look forward to when the electricity goes off.

XWL said...

Other than Howl by Ginsburg, what else holds up by any of the beats?

(my take is that nothing else, an artistic, now anachronistic backwater the lot of 'em, and how I loathe On the Road (what's wrong with Profs still assigning that junk?))

And comparing them to another group of poets that came out of a very specific space and time, the British WWI poets remain relevant, they managed to be timely and transcendent at the same time, the beats, not so much.

Palladian said...

xwl, I always keep in mind Truman Capote's beautiful dismissal of "On the Road": "That's not writing, it's typing".

Troy said...

That guy better lay off Bush. It's just as easy to create and send a hurricane to Italy as it was to destroy the Gulf Coast, though more difficult to hide it behind "God".

PatCA said...

Before I clicked on the link, I guessed: NYT.


Have they run out of bad Iraw news?

SippicanCottage said...
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Ann Althouse said...

Sippican: You are hitting some of my nerves. When I went to Rome, I was robbed by gypsies (whom the police called, phonetically, gip-si) and though the kids were caught (by civilians), the police let them go, because they were children. They're children! What can you do?

Henry said...
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Henry said...

Ferlinghetti is a delightful reader of his own poetry. He lilts over the words in almost hypnotic fashion. There's not many poets who read their own poetry well. Most come from the "Every / Word / I / Write / Is / Profound // And / So / I / Must / Enunciate / Every / Word" school of poetry reading. It's unbearable to listen to.

SippicanCottage said...
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Sigivald said...

Sippican: That brings to mind a rather nasty countermeasure idea involving a small explosive device, a breakaway strap, and a short delay fuse.

If not for the danger to innocent bystanders near the scooter, I'd actually approve of the idea as a most powerful deterrent.

Perhaps a stink-and-dye bomb would suffice and have sufficiently lowered harmful externalities.